APC supports automated speed limit enforcement in work zones

July 14, 2015

safezone_signAPC’s Bob Latham was among numerous parties providing testimony before a joint House/Senate Transportation Committee Tuesday morning regarding a broad range of highway safety issues. Bob’s focus was on Senate Bill 840, a Sen. David Argall-sponsored measure that would authorize automated speed limit enforcement in work zones.

He cited the positive results of a similar program in Maryland in curtailing excessive speeding in work zones and said it would improve the level of safety for the traveling public, as well as construction workers. For a news release summarizing Bob’s testimony, click here.




Senate committee approves increased penalties for work zone speed violations

June 30, 2015

Road constructionThe state Senate Transportation Committee has unanimously approved a measure to increase penalties for drivers who injure highway workers.

Sponsored by Sen. Camera Bartolotta (R-Beaver), the bill would impose fines upward of $1,000 for irresponsible driving in areas of road construction. These fines increase to $5,000 and a six-month suspension of the driver’s license if a highway worker or emergency responder is injured. Finally, if a highway worker is killed in the accident, drivers would pay a fine of up to $10,000 and lose their licenses for up to one year.

According to The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, approximately 100 workers are killed and another 20,000 workers are injured every year in highway and street-construction accidents. Read more


PennDOT’s June lettings total $278 million

June 26, 2015

NEW_PENNDOTPennDOT continued its strong, post-Act 89 momentum by letting just over $278 million in projects during June, bringing the year-to-date total to just over $1.4 billion. Last year, PennDOT ended the year with $2.6 billion in lettings, the highest since 2009 when the program was boosted by the one-time economic stimulus package. PennDOT exceeded its initial 2014 estimate of $2.2 billion and it was reported earlier that PennDOT’s 2015 anticipated lettings will again be $2.6 billion.

At the end of 2013, PennDOT only bid $1.638 billion in lettings. Act 89 enabled PennDOT to put nearly a $1 billion more projects on the street in 2014 than it was able to do in 2013.

With the recent enactment of the transportation funding bill there is reason to see this trend continue well past 2015. Act 89, which will implement a $2.3 billion comprehensive transportation funding plan over the next five years, will result in PennDOT exceeding the $2 billion construction lettings mark for years to come. Read more


Pension solution will clear the way for other budget matters, House majority leader says

June 17, 2015

Public pension reform is the first domino that needs to fall in the budget negotiations, House Majority Leader Dave Reed (R-Indiana) told attendees of the PHIA Legislative Breakfast this morning, and once it does, the other dominos will soon follow.

Reed explained that public pension obligations are the No. 1 cost driver for both the state and for school districts. He said the primary focus is pension fund stability over the long term rather than immediate relief.

However, he was not optimistic about the prospects of a solution to the raiding of the Motor License Fund. Currently, more than $700 million from that fund goes to support the State Police, approaching three-quarters of the State Police budget. While many would like to see that number reduced, Reed stated it would be nearly impossible to do so in a year in which they must address a $1.2 billion structural deficit. He agreed that the problem should be addressed in a gradual fashion in coming years. Read more


General Assembly nears introduction of work zone safety legislation

June 2, 2015

Orange construction lightThis week, the General Assembly is set to introduce legislation aimed at improving driver and worker safety in construction zones.

The bill would authorize automated speed enforcement in work zones on limited access state highways. Cameras would photograph license plates of vehicles that significantly exceed speed limits, and the vehicle owner would receive a violation notice. Areas of automated enforcement would be clearly marked.

In work zones, space restrictions make it difficult for police officers to monitor and enforce excessive speeding. In the last five years, there have been 10,586 crashes in Pennsylvania work zones, costing 128 lives. In 2013 alone, there were 1,800 crashes and 16 deaths.

Maryland’s automated enforcement program has proven to be successful. In its first two-and-a-half years, that state saw a reduction from about 7 percent to about 1 percent of drivers significantly exceeding the speed limit in work zones.

“While the industry certainly is concerned with worker safety, this initiative would have much a much broader positive effect,” said PHIA Managing Director Jason Wagner. “According to the Federal Highway Administration, 85 percent of the victims of work zone fatalities are drivers or passengers, not highway workers.”